Teenage Bottlerocket/Human Robots - Teenage Bottlerocket vs Human Robots (Cover Artwork)

Teenage Bottlerocket / Human Robots

Teenage Bottlerocket vs Human Robots (2019)

Fat Wreck Chords

Laramie, Wyoming’s Teenage Bottlerocket have been putting out consistently fun and cool songs for a bunch of years, getting to see the world and build some serious cache within the punk rock world.

Typically, Teenage Bottlerocket romps through fun-loving songs. However, their last full-length, Stay Rad, demonstrated a bit of lyrical growth. The record included a song about the death of Bottlerocket drummer Brandon Carlisle (a fantastically sentimental number called “Little Kid”) and a song about singer/guitarist Ray Carlisle’s son, Milo (“Everything To Me”). That second song, “Everything To Me”, is one of two Teenage Bottlerocket contributions to Teenage Bottlerocket vs Human Robots, kicking along in a mid-tempo groove and featuring some of the better vocals I’ve heard from Ray. And yes, the lyrics will pull at your heartstrings. The other Teenage Bottlerocket contribution is a Miguel Chen original titled “Olivia Goes To Bolivia”. This one is about Miguel’s daughter, Olivia, and his hopes for her future. It features a quick tempo and a bunch of energy and, coupled with “Everything To Me”, form the beginning of a theme.

The full realization of this familial theme comes on the second half of the split. Human Robots is the solo “band” project of Milo, Ray’s son. Milo plays all the instruments and pulls off all the vocals. The first offering, “Step On ‘Em All”, is a super basic chugger that uses the “step on a crack and break your momma’s back” kids singalong as a centerpiece. It’s a fun little lark that gets in and gets things done in less than a minute. The other Human Robots song, “I Want To Hang Out With You”, is the real gem. The song starts with a bit of a cool repetitive guitar solo before shifting to a mid-tempo chug during the verse and then moving to a more fully charged and fuzzy guitar for the chorus. All along, Milo goes on about all that he wants to do with the object of his affection (“I wanna hang out with you, skip class with you, get expelled with you”), singing in a marvelously unfazed, unadorned, and assured manner, complete with some sweet backing vocals. It’s the stuff of great punk songs and it’s a fun listen.

Teenage Bottlerocket vs Human Robots is an entertaining split. It holds tight to the family theme and offers four fun songs. Plus, it’s a cool introduction to Milo’s Human Robots. Check it out.